Ann Maher Mar. 26, 2014, 5:03pm

An Alton liquor store accused of selling a bath salts “drug” will argue its motion to dismiss a wrongful death suit on March 28 in Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth’s court.

According to the suit filed last April, Tonia Marie Whitehead consumed packets of “Up Energizing Aromatherapy Powder” in April 2011, became sick and died a day later at Alton Memorial Hospital.

The administrator of Whitehead’s estate, Shirley Morgan, sued Purnima LLC, doing business as Broadway Package Liquor, its owner Ravikumar P. Modi and manufacturer William F. Brockman Wholesale Tobacco & Candy.

Morgan claims the manufacturer sold and distributed 500 milligram packets of the substance containing the chemical methlyenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), which is a stimulant similar to cocaine or amphetamines, the suit claims. Morgan says she believes Whitehead obtained the bath salts from another person who purchased the product at Broadway Package Liquor.

The liquor store argues that it should be dismissed because the manufacturer of the product is known.

“Once the plaintiff has filed a complaint against the manufacturer… the court shall order the dismissal of a product liability action based on any theory or doctrine against the certifying defendant,” provided the defendant did not have some control over the design or manufacture of the product, knowledge of the defect or didn’t create the defect in the product, the motion states.

Morgan seeks a judgment of more than $500,000.

Lanny Darr of Alton represents the plaintiff.

John P. Cunningham and Denise Baker-Seal of Brown & James in Belleville represent the defendants.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-608

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